One of the hardest parts of parenting is having confidence in our own instincts and abilities. This is especially true when this role you are undertaking matters deeply to you.
With parenting being a ‘learn on the job’ role, there are many times we come into uncharted territories and feel out of our depth. We silence our own inner voice, doubting we have the nous to be on the right track, and look to ‘experts’ to guide us.
Sure, the wise counsel of someone more experienced can be useful, however we can forget that this expert doesn’t necessarily know more than we do, and they absolutely don’t know more about this particular child.
You are the expert!
This is a fact for you to wear proudly – YOU are the expert when it comes to your own child, yes humble old you! Affirming this helps us stay strong when we really want to muddle our own way through, treading our own path through gentle trial and error. It gives us confidence when advice doesn’t feel quite right, or the strategies of the ‘expert’ don’t seem to fit with the personality of our child or the style of our family.
While it may seem that the professionals (whether they be teachers, authors, consultants, gurus, psychologists, or whatever title) have more knowledge than we do, it just one of many forms of knowledge. Ours is a lived, relevant, heart felt knowledge that is every bit as relevant as anything found in a textbook.
Only you have spent countless hours staring down at those sleeping eyelashes, burning their image into your heart bank, never to be forgotten.
As you tried to soothe your newborn, you may have felt you did not know all the ‘baby cries’, but my goodness you knew when something was really wrong. Your heart told you, you didn’t need a guidebook as your instincts were enough.
You are the one who knows which song your toddler is requesting with their particular hand gestures and “eh” sound that others can’t interpret.
You are the one who recognises that your school aged child’s flat toned “fine”, needs a little more exploration. Others may not know these things, even those with qualifications behind their name, but you do.
You won’t know what to do in every situation but you do know what feels right and when something feels ‘off’. That deep knowing is enough to qualify you as knowing your child best.
Trust your knowledge and be wary of anyone who makes you doubt yourself. It is your connection with your child, built on thousands of little moments that allow you to be their advocate.
M.A.M.A. or D.A.D.
The ‘experts’ can inform aspects of our journey but we should be pulling them in when we need them, not mindlessly following them because we feel our own knowledge doesn’t stack up.
The encyclopaedia we could fill with our own child’s unique ‘them-isms’ makes our knowledge truly expert, and allows us to add very valuable letters after our name - M.A.M.A; D.A.D (or whatever your parent moniker).